MERCERSBURG - Carillon recitals featuring a pair of regular performers on Mercersburg Academy’s Swoope Carillon will be held during the month of February. The Swoope Carillon is in the Irvine Memorial Chapel on the academy campus, 300 E. Seminary St, Mercersburg. All recitals begin at 3 p.m., can be heard from the Quad, and are free and open to the public.
John Widmann of Frederick, Md., will give the Kurtz Family Recital on Feb. 7. Widmann said in a 2006 Frederick News-Post article that he began learning to play the carillon from a Mercersburg Academy student in 1986. (Unfortunately, the student’s name has disappeared into the ether of history.) Widmann became a member of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America (GCNA) in 1996. He is the city carillonneur of Frederick and is also a teacher in Frederick County.
Widmann’s performance is funded in part by a generous endowment established by Robert M. Kurtz Jr. ’52 in memory of his parents, Robert M. and Dorothy Betts Kurtz.
Academy Carillonneur James Brinson will perform three successive Sundays, February 14, 21 and 28. Brinson has served on Mercersburg’s music faculty since 2003 and took on the role of carillonneur in 2009. He is a graduate with distinction from both Union Theological Seminary’s School of Sacred Music and Rhodes College. A member of the American Guild of Organists and the American Choral Directors Association and an associate member of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America, Brinson is experienced in choral arts, organ performance and music history.
The Swoope Carillon, which hosts frequent recitals by Brinson and other invited guests during the school year, is one of 163 traditional carillons in the United States and includes 50 bells.